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Hornbrook, David - Education and Dramatic Art

Dec 29, 2015




    To this day, Education and Dramatic Art remains the only fully workedcritique of drama education in schools. Provocative and iconoclastic,this new edition brings the argument up-to-date and locates the authorsproposals for a curriculum based on the making, performing andappraisal of dramas securely in the evolving culture of schools.

    The first section of the book traces the origins and fortunes of drama inschools in the context of changing political times and argues that byneglecting the customs and practices of the theatre, drama-in-educationhas often kept from the students it professes to empower, the veryknowledge and understanding necessary for them to take commandof their subject.

    Part two examines the developmental and pedagogic claims of drama-in-education. Theories of knowledge and meaning and assumptionsabout schools dramas power to establish a moral and social agenda,are all called to account.

    Finally, Education and Dramatic Art proposes a multiculturally-based,theoretical structure for the teaching of drama which pulls the theatreand the classroom together and offers teachers the foundation for abroad and balanced drama curriculum with its own distinctive bodyof skills, knowledge and understanding.

    David Hornbrook is Arts Inspector for the London Borough of Camdenand an Associate Fellow of the Central School of Speech and Drama.


    2nd Edition

    David Hornbrook

    London and New York

  • First published 1989by Basil Blackwell


    Second edition 1998by Routledge

    11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2002.

    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canadaby Routledge

    29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001

    1998 David Hornbrook

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprintedor reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic,

    mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafterinvented, including photocopying and recording, or in any

    information storage or retrieval system, withoutpermission in writing from the publishers.

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the

    British Library

    Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book has been requested

    ISBN 0-415-16884-8 (hbk)ISBN 0-415-16885-6 (pbk)

    ISBN 0-203-13435-4 Master e-book ISBNISBN 0-203-18027-5 (Glassbook Format)


    Preface viiiAcknowledgements xii

    Part 1 Drama-in-education: telling the story

    1 THE PLOT: THE RISE OF DRAMA-IN-EDUCATION 3Noble savages in an English Arcadia 3Art and the play of life 6Well-developed people 9Learning through drama 12

    2 THE PLAYERS: WITNESS AND REVELATION 15Mystification and dramatic midwifery 15Eagle and Molekeeping it in the family 18Assaulting the ivory towers 20How to succeed in drama without really trying 22The Two Witnesses 26

    3 THE SETTING: EVENTS ON THE PUBLIC STAGE 28The 1960s settlement 28New ideologues 31Selling encyclopaedias 33Fighting for the arts 36

    4 THE DENOUEMENT: REHEARSING THE PHANTOMREVOLUTION 41Digging up the secret garden 41Back in the classroom 43What have the Romans ever done for us? 45The 1990s settlement 51



    Part 2 Drama-in-education: interpreting the text

    5 THE OMNIPOTENT SELF 59Authenticity and the self 59The psychological imperative 63Phenomenology, universals and the fallacy of individualism 66

    6 HAPPENING ON THE AESTHETIC 70The art of school drama 70The tradition of English 72Naturalism and the theatre 76

    7 SIGNIFICANT KNOWING 79Knowing what you feel 79Personal knowledge 81The meaning-makers 84

    8 CULTURE AND POWER 89Really useful knowledge and the tradition of dissent 89Power and empowerment 91Is eating people wrong? 94Singing better songs 96

    Part 3 Towards dramatic art

    9 PRACTICAL AESTHETICS AND DRAMATIC ART 103Art and ideology 103Actors, audiences and texts 108Cultural narratives 110

    10 THE DRAMATISED SOCIETY 114On the stage of life 114Roles and characters 116

    11 WHAT SHALL WE DO AND HOW SHALL WE LIVE? 121Facts and opinions 121The community of discourse 123The teacher as critic 126Learning how to act 128Summing up: dramatic art and the dramatised society 131

    12 THE DRAMA CURRICULUM 132Wider landscapes 132Practising dramatic art 134The arts, the school and the community 138



    APPENDIX 1 142

    APPENDIX 2 152

    Notes 155Bibliography 172Index 178

  • viii


    As the announcer on BBC radios Saturday Night Theatre might havesaid, a decade has now passed since the manuscript of the first editionof Education and Dramatic Art dropped through the letter box of BasilBlackwell Ltd.

    It is a rare privilege for an author to have the opportunity of re-visiting a published text, particularly a polemical one, and of makingchanges that reflect not only the passage of years but also reaction tothe original. When I first sat at my screen in the mid-1980s to write acritical account of drama in English schools, I had little idea of how itwould be received or whether my own growing disenchantment withthe classroom remedies I was dispensing to would-be teachers in thename of drama was widely shared.

    At the time, I suppose, I was driven mostly by intellectual curiosity.It just seemed to me odd that a set of simple classroom techniques basedupon spontaneous make-believe should be able to inspire such a fierce,almost religious, dedication among a small group of teachers andadvisers. My sifting of twenty years or so of trade journals revealednot a word of criticism, either of the practices of drama-in-educationor of its proponents; it was as if one was researching a cult rather thana relatively minor part of the school curriculum. And yet I could nothelp noticing that all this fervour stood in marked contrast to the almostcomplete ignorance of the custom and practice of drama in schools onthe part of everyone else. Indeed, I still find it impossible to speak toactors and directors about what goes on in schools by way of drama,or even to members of the drama faculties of universities, without alengthy, explanatory preamble. Some secondary headteachers I meetin the course of my work as a school inspector, even those commandingflourishing drama departments, have very little idea of what is goingon in their drama studios.

    Education and Dramatic Art was the first sustained critique of drama-in-education and when it was published in 1989 it inevitably caused afew ripples. Responses to the book ranged from the hysterical How dare



    you criticise Dorothy! variety, which I had expected, to supportivereviews from closet apostates, which were a pleasant surprise. What Idid not foresee was that my polemic would come to take a place on thereading lists of prospective drama teachers, or that it would be regardedas representing a particular view of how drama should be taught. As theyears passed I began to see that by offering an alternative to the prevailingorthodoxy, the book had possibly, in a modest way, changed things.

    Perhaps this is an exaggeration. Change is not wrought by individualauthors although individual authors can articulate change and thesearticulations may, in turn, help others to hurry it along. Whatever thecausal balance, faced with the preparation of a new edition I was awarethat the context in which the shifts of history had placed the old onecould not be ignored, for it was this context which would determinethe usefulness of its successor. Thus, while my curiosity about thestrange freemasonry of drama-in-education remains and while thethrust of the new book is still a challenge to the rootless subjectivismof its orthodoxies, I began the revising task in the knowledge that some,at least, of the changes of emphasis I proposed ten years ago had beenrealised. I was clear, too, that this slow but continuing metamorphosiswas occurring in an educational landscape quite different from that ofthe mid-1980s and that this new geography would also have to bereflected in the new edition.

    One of the principal questions I had asked myself in the 1980s waswhat effect the drama methodologies so extensively advertised injournals, conferences and in-service training sessions had actually hadon classroom teaching. My conclusion then was that the gap betweenrhetoric and reality was a disturbingly large one. My visits to schoolsrevealed custom and practice looking not so very different from thatwhich I had experienced when I began teaching in the 1960s.Predominantly, I wrote, children get into groups, pile up chairs, makeup improvisations, show them at the end of the lesson.

    Ten years on, it is evident that events outside the drama studio havehad some impact on the way affairs are conducted within it. Theintroduction of a statutory curriculum together with pressures fromall parts of the political spectrum to raise students achievement acrossthe board have forced some rethinking. While my inspection visits showthat schemes of work for drama often still feature elements from thatcurious lucky dip of drama exercises invented in the 1980sterms likeforum theatre, freeze frame and hot seating have become part ofthe lingua franca of secondary dramaI also see a growing willingness,especially among younger teachers, to tackle the important questionof what young people should be learning about drama and to worryrather less about techniques designed to help their students learnthrough it.



    So there is cause to be optimistic. Also, for all the anxiety created bythe 1988 National Curriculum for schools (in which the subject fai